Canadian Forest Service Publications

Delivering Sitka spruce with resistance against white pine weevil in British Columbia, Canada1. Alfaro, R.I., King, J.N., vanAkker, L. The Forestry Chronicle. Vol.89, No.2 pp.235-245

Year: 2013

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35818

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.5558/tfc2013-024

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The Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis [Bong.] Carr) breeding program for resistance against the white pine weevil Pissodes strobi Peck (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is arguably one of the most successful pest resistance breeding programs for plantation forest species in North America, with a substantial proportion of the planting stock in BC and Washington State currently coming from this breeding program. Using conventional selection and breeding, and by screening Sitka spruce populations using artificial weevil infestations, we identified sources of heritable and stable weevil resistance. We also used this program to investigate potential causes behind this resistance and identified several heritable resistance mechanisms, including anatomical characteristics, such as constitutive resin canals and sclereid cells in the bark, terpene defenses and variation in tree phenology. We concluded that resistance is conferred by a suite of traits whose composition varies among resistant sources. In addition, we evaluated the efficiency of screening for resistance using weevil population enhancement as a screening method. Our results culminated in the establishment of seed orchards, and the availability of resistant seed that is contributing to the return of Sitka spruce as a species of choice in coastal British Columbia.